U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Moldova
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||14 June 2004|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Moldova, 14 June 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d80f23.html [accessed 23 July 2014]|
Moldova (Tier 2)
Moldova is primarily a source country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation to the Balkans (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania, Serbia-Montenegro, and Kosovo); other European countries (Italy, France, Portugal, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey); and the Middle East (Lebanon, Israel, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Syria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan). Trafficking from Moldova to Russia, Turkey, and the U.A.E. increased markedly during 2003, and trafficking to Israel via Moscow and Egypt continued unabated. Moldovan men and children were trafficked to Russia and neighboring countries for forced labor and begging. Moldova is also a transit country for victims trafficked from Ukraine to Romania. The border region of Transnistria, not under the central government's control, also serves as a source and transit point for trafficking victims.
The Government of Moldova does not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. While the trafficking problem continued to be disproportionately grave, the government refocused its activities on the issue during the reporting period. Law enforcement efforts and regional cooperation improved as well, but government prevention and protection efforts continued to lag behind. The government should apply funds it receives through foreign assistance to targeted economic initiatives in order to provide potential victims with alternatives to working abroad, establish protections for victims testifying against their traffickers, and promptly establish long-promised victim referral mechanisms.
The government revised its criminal code in June 2003 by adding definitions and penalties for trafficking in persons and, separately, trafficking in children. Both provisions prohibit trafficking for the purposes of sexual and non-sexual exploitation and prescribe penalties from seven to 10 years' imprisonment, with a potential penalty enhancement of up to life imprisonment for severely aggravating circumstances. During 2003, the Trafficking in Persons department at the Prosecutor General's office initiated 189 investigations under the former and current statutes on trafficking in persons and children, and 71 investigations under the current pimping statute. Of the 220 cases investigated, 44 indictments were issued and 34 convictions obtained – a 54% increase over 2002. While only six of the convictions led to prison terms, these sentences ranged from three to 15 years, improving significantly over the previous year. Anti-trafficking courses were instituted at the police academy; the counter-trafficking unit at the Ministry of Interior hired a new female police officer.
The government failed to sponsor protections for victims, but continued to rely on NGOs and international organizations funded by foreign donors to provide comprehensive protections. The new criminal code specifically exempts victims from criminal liability for acts committed in connection with their trafficking, but victims who refuse to cooperate may be investigated and punished for criminal offenses. The government can and does use special investigative techniques to develop forensic evidence, but in practice, police encouraged most victims to testify against their traffickers, without providing protection.
The National Committee on Trafficking in Persons increased its activities during the reporting period, but failed to update its implementation of the national action plan. The Moldovan President's focus on trafficking greatly increased during the reporting period, and he directed the Chairman of the National Committee, a deputy Prime Minister, to invigorate its efforts. The National Committee developed four sub-groups, each with an international co-chair and instituted bi-weekly meetings in locations throughout Moldova, garnering broad participation and increased reporting from local administrative and police officials. Government officials and a prominent NGO co-organized targeted information campaigns for youth; the National Committee jointly sponsored an international conference with foreign missions; and, various ministries directly promoted several showings of a dramatic film about trafficking, "Lilya 4-Ever" in theaters throughout Moldova.